The UK great bustard Otis tarda reintroduction trial: a 5-year progress report

Robert J Burnside, I Carter, A Dawes, D Waters, L Lock, P Goriup, Tamas Szekely

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Abstract

The great bustard Otis tarda became extinct in the UK during the 19th century due to a combination of factors, including hunting, egg collection and changes in agriculture. In 2003 a 10-year licence was granted to begin a trial to reintroduce the species back to the UK. Here we report on the first 5 years of the trial and assess the progress made towards establishing a founder population. From April 2004 to September 2009 a total of 102 great bustard chicks were imported from Russia and 86 released on Salisbury Plain. Monitoring showed that post-release survival was 18% in the first year following release, and that mortality of released bustards was mainly attributable to predation and collisions. Estimated adult survival was 74%, although the sample size was small. All known surviving great bustards are faithful to the surroundings of the release site, returning throughout the year. A lek has been established where males have been observed displaying to females. The first nesting attempt was in 2007, and in 2009 two females aged 3 and 4 years successfully nested, fledging one chick each. Models incorporating the new demographic estimates suggest that at the end of the 10-year trial period the project can expect to have 8-26 adults as a founder population. © 2012 Fauna & Flora Internationa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-121
Number of pages10
JournalOryx
Volume46
Issue number1
Early online date24 Nov 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012

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reintroduction
founder effect
lek
fledging
chicks
Otididae
hunting
flora
predation
collision
fauna
egg
Russia
agriculture
mortality
demographic statistics
monitoring
trial
Otis tarda
sampling

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Burnside, R. J., Carter, I., Dawes, A., Waters, D., Lock, L., Goriup, P., & Szekely, T. (2012). The UK great bustard Otis tarda reintroduction trial: a 5-year progress report. Oryx, 46(1), 112-121. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0030605311000627

The UK great bustard Otis tarda reintroduction trial: a 5-year progress report. / Burnside, Robert J; Carter, I; Dawes, A; Waters, D; Lock, L; Goriup, P; Szekely, Tamas.

In: Oryx, Vol. 46, No. 1, 01.2012, p. 112-121.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Burnside, RJ, Carter, I, Dawes, A, Waters, D, Lock, L, Goriup, P & Szekely, T 2012, 'The UK great bustard Otis tarda reintroduction trial: a 5-year progress report', Oryx, vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 112-121. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0030605311000627
Burnside RJ, Carter I, Dawes A, Waters D, Lock L, Goriup P et al. The UK great bustard Otis tarda reintroduction trial: a 5-year progress report. Oryx. 2012 Jan;46(1):112-121. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0030605311000627
Burnside, Robert J ; Carter, I ; Dawes, A ; Waters, D ; Lock, L ; Goriup, P ; Szekely, Tamas. / The UK great bustard Otis tarda reintroduction trial: a 5-year progress report. In: Oryx. 2012 ; Vol. 46, No. 1. pp. 112-121.
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